Semi Colon and Colon Lesson*

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Semicolonsand Colons : 

Semicolonsand Colons Created for UVU School of Education EDSC 3250 By Lisa Harrison and Joy Erickson ; :

Two Dots! : 

Two Dots! A colon informs the reader that what follows sums up or explains what has come before. She was delighted to have the offer accepted: It was the third time she had bid on the house. Colons

Wait! I thought colons were used in lists. : 

Wait! I thought colons were used in lists. The cake contained ingredients found in the back of the kitchen cupboard: flour, baking soda, dried orange peel, raisins, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, frogs, turtles (ok, sometimes lists get a little long). To this, we added some milk and an egg from the fridge. You will need: strong footwear, waterproof clothing, a change of clothes, high-energy snacks, a small first-aid kit, a good map, and a flashlight. Yep, colons are also used to introduce a list of items (or, indeed, and example):

Dear Sir: : 

Dear Sir: Dear Sir: We are honored to have you come visit our class next week. In formal letters we often begin the letters like this…

Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Colons introduce quotations that do not begin with a “he said/she said” clause. Alexandra took the microphone: “Your honor, I object.” In all cases, the colon precedes the quotation marks. Colons introduce quotations that are formal or lengthy.

Colons with Formal Appositives : 

Colons with Formal Appositives Wait, wait, what is an appositive? An appositive is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side, with one element serving to define or modify the other. What? Ok, give me an example. In the phrase “my friend Alice,” the name “Alice” is in apposition to “my friend”. Use a colon instead of a comma to introduce an appositive at the end of a sentence for emphasis.

Special Case Colons : 

Special Case Colons Numerical expressions of time. Example: 5:31 p.m. The colon goes between the hour and the minute. If seconds are noted, a colon goes between the minute and second. What? You mean that there are other rules?

Another special case : 

Another special case Periodical references in a bibliography or formal reference. Volume: Issue Number or Volume: Page Number. Bible references, Chapter: Verse. John 3:16 Ok, let me have it!

One more….. : 

One more….. Colons follow labels that identify important ideas meant to get attention. Warning: To be opened by authorized personnel only. Did you get that one? That is what you always tell me!

Semi Colons : 

Semi Colons “There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers’ benevolence, to dangle from conspicuous hooks that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed; [come on….it is just before lunch!] there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squat and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol Super comma to the rescue!

Did that last one make you hungry? : 

Did that last one make you hungry? Charles Dickens created lists of wonderful foods that his characters dreamed about eating for Christmas dinner. Instead of putting colons, each grouping was separated by a semicolon or super comma. Now we will break for a bowl of ice cream. When you come back, we will continue. Wow! That was a lot of food.

Connecting two independent clauses. : 

Connecting two independent clauses. Now fighting a losing battle against the less elegant dash, the semicolon connects two or more independent clauses that don’t quite justify being sentences in their own right. It often replaces and or but. This is why we think of this as a super comma. The fight between dashes and semicolons.

Did you get that? : 

Did you get that? I have tickets for the U.S. Open tomorrow. I bet it rains. These two sentences read a bit jerkily. I have tickets for the U.S Open tomorrow but I bet it rains. A little clumsy. I have tickets for the U.S. Open tomorrow; I bet it rains. Much better! Ok, let’s look at an example.

Semicolons in a Series : 

Semicolons in a Series Incorrect: We visit Erie, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York, and Toronto, Ontario. (Confusing. Semicolons needed to make clear distinctions.) Correct: We visited Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; and Toronto, Ontario. When the items in a series themselves contain comma, separate the items with semicolons.

Now….some practice. : 

Now….some practice. Use a semicolon. Unlike a comma, a semicolon is a strong enough mark of punctuation to join two main clauses. Use a semicolon like this: Grandma still rides her Harley motorcycle; her toy poodle balances in a basket between the handlebars. Awwwwww, do we really have to?

Review continued… : 

Review continued… Keep these three things in mind when you use a semicolon. The two main clauses that the semicolon joins should be closely related in meaning. Don't capitalize the word that follows the semicolon unless that word is a proper noun, one that is always capitalized. Limit your use of semicolons; you should not wantonly scatter them throughout your writing. Semicolons are like glasses of champagne; save them for special occasions.

Websites : 

Websites Chomp chomp Here are some places you can go to practice these grammar rules and other ones too.

Web Resources : 

Web Resources Fun brain grammar

Web Resources : 

Web Resources Grammar Quizes

Web Resources : 

Web Resources Grammar Games

Bibliography : 

Bibliography English Taggart, Caroline and J.A. Wines. My Grammar and I…Or Should That Be Me? Reader’s Digest; New York. 2009. Print.

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